We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team writers and ask for answers to pressing 2010 fantasy football questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2011 Philadelphia Eagles Fantasy Football Preview comes courtesy of beat reporter Geoff Mosher of Delaware Online.
1. Do you see the Eagles brass working with Desean Jackson on a new contract while he holds out? Should us fake footballers worry about him missing any time this season?
It may take a week or so, but eventually DeSean will get into camp. At some point he and the team will come to a contractual agreement but probably not before some more public haggling. He’s only making $565,000 this year – poor guy – in the last year of his deal, so a prolonged holdout makes no sense. He faces $30,000 a day in fines and would lose his accrued fourth year, which would negate his opportunity to become a free agent at the end of the season, another reason his holdout is likely to end sooner than later. When the smoke clears, he’ll be an Eagle this year.
2. Michael Vick is a fantasy football players dream. A player that accumulates both RB and QB stats all at one position. That versatility and amount of time with the ball does have many worried that he will miss some time due to injuries. Last season there was a lot of talk about him avoiding punishment by either getting out of bounds or sliding. Did you notice a difference last season? How do you see him approaching it during this season?
If you look at Vick’s overall history in the league, aside from a broken leg in 2003 that sideline him for 11 games, he’s stayed healthy for every other season until last year’s rib injury cost him three starts. He’s older now, so the heavy workload is reason to be concerned. Also, the team’s persistent offensive line issues could be problematic. First-round pick Danny Watkins, expected to start right awat at right guard, missed the first five days of camp from a contract dispute and right tackle Winston Justice still hasn’t practiced. He had knee surgery in February, which may have been more serious than the team disclosed. Vick tried to slide at times last year at the advice of his coaches but looked uncomfortable and unnatural and pretty much trashed the idea after a few unsightly attempts.
3. What does the back up running back position look like in Philly right now? Or in other words, if I am drafting LeSean McCoy for my fake team who should I draft late as injury insurance?
Looks pretty good now that Ronnie Brown hopped aboard. Brown is perfect for Reid’s offense. The team needed a veteran ball carrier to back up McCoy. Brown’s a hard-nosed runner with smooth hands out of the backfield and an excellent blocker in blitz pick-up. He’ll have to play third fiddle to McCoy and the passing game but that’s good for Brown, who’s injury prone. The reduced role will alleviate the pounding on his body. He could easily step in and carry the workload if McCoy were to miss some time from an injury.
4. When looking at the pass target distribution for Michael Vick it roughly comes out to — DJax — 23%
Maclin — 22%
McCoy — 16%
Avant — 14%
Celek — 14%
other — 11%
As long as DJax returns to the fold is there any reason to see this distribution changing at all? Do Maclin’s target numbers increase in this third season in the offense?
The only change I can foresee is perhaps an increase in targets for Celek, who had a breakout season in 2009 but was kept in to block last year due to the spotty offensive line and more max protection schemes. He also had a nagging wrist injury that led to more drops than usual. If the line is improved, Celek could be freed up for more routes. Also, the addition of free-agent Donald Lee – an excellent blocker – could mean more two-tight end sets that keep Lee in to block instead of Celek.
5. I’ve heard some argue that with enough film on Michael Vick in Reid’s offense, defensive coordinators will have an easier time slowing him down this season. Do you believe he can be stopped consistently? Do you thin Reid’s offense can be that predictable? How can you stand to drink Old Style? Are you some kind of sadist?
The book on Vick at the end of last season was to throw a ton of pressure at him, knock him around and let the fatigue settle in. But that’s mainly because the offensive line didn’t protect him. If this line can do a better job, Vick won’t have to run as much and his body won’t absorb the punishment. Vick also has to improve in getting rid of the ball quicker, which will ultimately determine whether he took another big step in his QB maturation under Reid. Reid does tend to fall in love with the pass and become predictable but with Vick, Jackson, Maclin, McCoy, Celek, Avant and Brown – am I forgetting someone? – defenses will have plenty to think about prior to the snap.
Truthfully, I can’t stand Old Style, but I love Chicago. So when in Rome ….
(Doc’s Note: Thanks Geoff! Yes, you will be laughed at in Wrigley if you aren’t drinking Old Style so I can understand. And that is an interesting note on Celek. He deserves to see more work.)